The Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh has lost three cheetahs and as many cubs in the past three months.
On Thursday, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said, “We take responsibility for whatever happened,” but he insisted that the translocation initiative will be a huge success.
On September 17 of last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the first group of eight spotted cats from Namibia into a quarantine pen at Kuno in Madhya Pradesh. On February 18, 12 cheetahs were flown in from South Africa and released into Kuno as part of a second similar translocation.
In March and April, three cheetahs perished. Seven of the 17 adult cheetahs that are still alive have already been released into the wild. Several experts have expressed concerns about the suitability of the environment and wildlife management following the deaths of three adult cheetahs and three of the four cubs born to a female Namibian cheetah named Sisaya.
One of the cheetahs was sick before it ever arrived in India, and we have explained why the two other (adult) cheetahs died. “It’s an international initiative, and we had anticipated mortality. It’s indicated in our report (cheetah introduction action plan).
“The three cubs perished in the sweltering heat. The mercury climbed as high as 47 degrees Celsius… We accept responsibility for everything that occurred. The initiative will be a huge success, though, and the entire nation will be proud of it, he responded in response to a query at the Times Network summit.